Rev. Ellen's Reflections, June 2019

The Rev. Ellen Rowse Spero

As we enter the month of June, we are preparing for transitions into summer and the next church year. This past year has been an amazing one: we started in the fall in a bit of chaos, working around a newly renovated building that was not quite ready for prime time. But eventually, the pieces all came together: the elevator, the bathrooms, the new entrance, the ramp to the vestry, the moving around of the parlor, offices, and meeting rooms. And in May, we celebrated with our dedication service and open house.

We also experienced the many joys and sorrows in the life of our congregation. We grieved the losses of Larry Willette, Tim O’Hara and Ellen Mellen. We said farewell to those who have moved away: Donna Mitchelson, Peter Mellish and Linda Horn, and in June, Betsy Beach. (Phyllis and Glenn King have moved to Plymouth but intend to keep their membership at First Parish and hope to see us when they can.) And we have welcomed lots of new faces and families to our congregation. I love the energy and fresh perspective that our new folks bring. I encourage all of us to welcome and get to know them and I invite our new folks to feel free to ask questions about how things work around here. I realize how easy it is for those of us who have been around for a while to assume that everyone knows the drill and the language. So, I am using this newsletter column as a way to review and/or introduce the practices and changes that happen over the summer.

June serves as our transition month from our regular worship services in the sanctuary and the religious education/faith formation program to our summer services. June 9th, we celebrate our children and youth and their faith formation milestones. June 16th, we honor our graduating seniors with a bridging ceremony and also hold our flower communion. This service is a celebration of friendship and community. I invite everyone to bring a flower that will go in our common bouquet, which we will then share with one another. I will share the story of this ritual on the 16th. June 23rd is the first of our summer services that run through the Sunday of Labor Day. Summer services are more informal and generally led by members of the congregation. They start at 9 am (to avoid the heat) and we meet in the chapel. We do not have nursery care or specific programs for children and youth, although they are welcome to attend the services.

During the summer, I have four weeks of study leave to prepare for next year’s preaching and faith formation courses that I hope to lead (that is the theory anyway). I will also be on vacation for a couple of weeks in July and August (I haven’t quite nailed down exact dates yet). While I am not leading worship during the summer, I am around for pastoral care, committee and group meetings, and general minister things, except during my vacation time. While I don’t keep regular office hours, I do try to check my office voice mail: 978 256-5555, so you can leave me a message or, if you need to reach me urgently, my cell phone number is on the message, as well as emergency contact information for when I am away. You can also email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will resume our regular worship schedule on Sunday, September 8 at 10 am in the sanctuary for our water communion (more on that in the September newsletter!).

June also marks the transition of our lay leadership. We hold our annual meeting after the service on June 9th, where the members of the congregation will, among other things, vote in the new members who signed the membership book, vote on our operating and cell tower budgets for next year, and vote in the slate of people who will serve in elected positions on the Standing Committee (our Board of Trustees); the Nominating Committee; the Board of Investment (which manages our endowment); our treasurer, assistant treasurer, clerk and collector. I would like to thank everyone who has served in these roles and is stepping down, those who are continuing in their roles, and to welcome those who will be stepping up into elected leadership. I appreciate the commitment of time and talent volunteered by our members that is essential for living into our congregational polity.

I wish everyone a healthy and happy summer.

--Rev Ellen

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824

978-256-5133